Spring Fishing is Here!
The air is starting to warm up as is the Gulf water temperature presently stands at 62.4 degrees. Over the next few weeks the temperature will rise steadily until we start to see schools of rainbow minnows. Shortly after these show up the Spanish will be closely behind them gorging themselves on the 3/4 inch tasty treats. When Spanish fishing, as we call it around here, it is important to match the hatch meaning the size and action of the bait. Rainbow minnows, elwys, and other white baits circle into balls and flash as they turn sideways. This action produces a flash that is closely mimicked by several types of spoons and jigs. The favorite of these for trolling would be the Clark Squid Spoon in a size#1 and sometimes when the baits are smaller i will use a 0 or 00 size. These spoons should be rigged with 40-60 pound mono-filament with the leader being around 12 feet long. Spanish have excellent eyesight and while line diameter will not normally deter them, a swivel might incur a strike allowing their razor sharp teeth to severe the line. If you are ever trolling and stop getting bites on a peticular rod it is a good idea to reel it in to check that you are not missing a spoon. Also check your hook as it is fairly common to break off hooks especially when using a quick dehooker or flipping tool. Speed is generally your friend when trolling for Spanish as they are very fast swimmers and i have had them hit baits at 17kts before when offshore high speed trolling. My personal preference is around 4-5 kts as this keeps the fish tracking well as I bring them in and put the lines back out. If the bite is slow I will slow down and keep the spoons in the strike zone longer. During periods of diminished water clarity such as tannic acid after large rainfalls i might even use a gold colored Clark Spoon. The gold color in the red stained water seems to be visible for a greater distance than the silver does. In all if you like to have a chance to catch lots of fish with going too far then Spanish fishing will be one of your favorite targets. Oh and by the way Spanish are delicious!